For Immediate Release

Results of TPP cost benefit analyses validate need to liberalise Malaysia’s economy

Kuala Lumpur, 7 December 2015 – The results of the two cost benefit analyses on Malaysia’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership conducted by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) were released last week.

“Making an informed decision about Malaysia’s participation in the TPP requires a systematic and rational approach utilising the best possible evidence and analyses,” stated Wan Saiful Wan Jan, IDEAS Chief Executive Officer. “These two reports allow our parliamentarians, decision makers and civil society stakeholders to get answers on their concerns and then to make informed decisions.”

Wan Saiful added that: “I am glad that both reports did not play down the many concerns raised by various parties about the TPP. The fact that the two studies concluded that Malaysia would, overall, benefit from joining the TPP validate what we have been saying all along that liberalisation is good for the rakyat.”

“I want to emphasise that the government needs to get their act together to inform the public about the benefits of this trade agreement. So far it has done a lousy job at explaining the TPP despite having five years of negotiating it. It is unacceptable that the burden is piled on MITI alone, while other ministers behave as if they are unconnected to the process. All the ministries involved need to speak up as one government and there must be a coherent strategy to communicate with the public.”

“At the same time, I am worried about those who oppose the TPP because they have been unduly influenced by anti-liberalisation activists. These activists will oppose the TPP even when studies say it is good. They have been opposing it for years, before reading the actual text of the agreement or digesting the conclusions from the two studies. Even now, they will continue to oppose it regardless of these recent developments.”

“It is shocking how much coverage these anti-liberalisation activists have received and how many people have been influenced by their scare tactics. I expect that they will now be scrambling to find faults and attempt to discredit the two studies in order to save the little credibility that they have left. We must not be fooled and allow ourselves to be terrified. I urge everyone to read the two studies and decide based on the facts. We must ignore made-up accusations thrown by those who are driven by ideology rather than facts.”

“On the other hand, the two cost benefit analyses documented that Malaysia has obtained various exemptions and carve outs from the TPP, such as in the areas of Bumiputera policies and GLCs. I understand the short term political needs for these exemptions. But from the perspective of the longer term welfare of the rakyat, these exemptions will blunt the full benefits of the TPP. It would mean that Malaysia will not gain the maximum benefit from this round of liberalisation,” said Wan Saiful.



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